Nissan is certainly experiencing some tough times right now, but there is one notable bright spot. Last year, the automaker sold just over 350,000 Rogues in the US, earning it an impressive sixth position in the top-twenty best-sellers of 2019. Only two SUV/crossover models were more popular, and now Nissan is staging a bold plan to try and conquer them both by targeting one in particular.
The vehicle in Nissan's crosshairs is the Toyota RAV4. It's the best-selling SUV/crossover in America by a wide margin, having sold 448,071 units in 2019. The Honda CR-V is next at 384,000 and change, but with a redesigned Rogue ready for the 2021 model year, Nissan is taking the fight directly to Toyota by taking Toyotas directly to Nissan dealerships. According to Automotive News, the automaker will have a fleet of rented RAV4s available for its dealer network to access free of charge. In short, when buyers stop in to look at a Rogue, a RAV4 will be right there for a side-by-side comparison.
Gallery: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
It's most definitely a gutsy move from Nissan, but it certainly shows confidence in the Rogue's 2021 redesign. There's obviously no guarantee that folks won't fall in love with the RAV4, though with Nissan holding the strings on the comparison, sales staff can certainly spin things to the Rogue's favor. There's no mention of RAV4 trim levels available for these comparisons, but we'd be surprised if Nissan didn't stack the deck in its favor with low or mid-range Toyota models.
Fortunately for Nissan, the new-for-2021 Rogue already has plenty going for it. There's an attractive, tech-heavy interior with spacious accommodations and a slathering of standard-issue safety systems. A fully digital cockpit with a heads-up display is available, and the company's ProPilot suite of assist and safety tech is a compelling reason to go Rogue. The exterior refresh is modern if a tad conservative, but buyers might well prefer the RAV4's powertrain. With a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder churning out 181 horsepower funneled through a CVT, it's not exactly exciting to drive.
According to the report, Nissan expects half of its dealers will opt into the RAV4 program. It's slated to run during December, coinciding with the on-sale launch of the 2021 Rogue.